The Chronicle

Drunken assault of cops

20-y-o man had cop in choker hold during arrest

- PETER HARDWICK

A 21-YEAR-OLD Toowoomba man who briefly held a policeman in a choker hold when arrested during a drunken tirade on a Newtown street has narrowly avoided actual jail time.

Reece McDermott blew a breath/alcohol reading of 0.205 when taken to the watch house after the incident on the night of July 26, Toowoomba Magistrate­s Court heard.

Police were called after the then 20-year-old went on a drunken tirade, smashing a wall, two windows and a mailbox with a cricket bat.

Calling police “f***ing dogs”, McDermott told police “you’ll have to lock me up”, leading to a violent struggle on the street, police prosecutor Sergeant Al Windsor said.

During the struggle, McDermott had grabbed a constable around the neck with his arm for about five seconds, and when that officer broke free, the 20-year-old had spat at another policeman, narrowly missing him, Sgt Windsor said.

A number of police officers were called to help get McDermott into the police vehicle, and he had kicked out at the door when an officer tried to close it behind him.

His aggression continued at the watch house where McDermott took up a fighting stance against officers and punched a senior constable in the arm, Sgt Windsor said.

McDermott pleaded guilty to two counts of serious assault of police in a public place while adversely affected, public nuisance, obstructin­g police in a public place while adversely affected, wilful damage and assaulting, obstructin­g police.

His solicitor Michael Corbin said he’d viewed the police bodycam footage of the incident which showed his client had also been held in a choker hold which he conceded was a legitimate police action.

Since that night, his client had not consumed any alcohol which included his 21st birthday earlier this month, he said.

“My client got himself well and truly plastered that night,” Mr Corbin said of the incident.

McDermott’s partner who was in court supporting him was now eight weeks pregnant which had also had a positive effect on him, he said.

Magistrate Graham Lee sentenced McDermott to 12 months in jail but suspended the term for two years, ordered he do 140 hours community service and placed him on two years probation.

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